(My Dad, Dale Brown & David Rea of Salem Investment Counselors)
(Photo by: John Nacion/CNBC)

As a dad myself, so much of my focus these days is on or around my three young and rambunctious boys (the pic below says it all). What they’re doing and saying. Their different personalities. How they’re growing. The normal “my kids are young, and everything is new” kind of things.

(Kylan (3), Declan (5), Soul (1.5))

Do you find it strange that two of the hardest things in life God doesn’t give us any practice for? Marriage and parenting. The longer I have kids, the more respect, admiration and gratitude I have for my parents. Parenting is freakin’ hard. No doubt, one of the greatest things in the world. But, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. And I realize every day, more and more, how wonderful my parents are and just how much God has blessed me through them.

My Dad.

I didn’t start writing this piece to talk about myself. But to talk about one of my heroes. My dad! Mark Thompson is his official name.

My dad is a Partner at Salem Investment Counselors (Salem) out of my hometown of good-ole Winston-Salem, NC. And they received a pretty prestigious honor recently.

Check this: CNBC ranked Salem as the #1 top Financial Advisory Firm in the Nation for 2019. Every year CNBC analyzes over 35,000 firms throughout the country. And Salem was selected as the greatest!

Huge deal and honor! Yep, I’m one super proud son!

Of course, my dad didn’t go on social media and advertise this. Or even tell his kids. But you better believe that my Mama spread the good news.

I called my dad to congratulate him and chat about it. And like the Jedi he is, I’m always walking away from our conversations a changed man.

Here’s What He Taught Me:

1. There’s no secret sauce.

This public acclaim certainly garnered lots of interest for Salem. People were curious about the firm. People wanted to know how they did it. What their secret was. I did too. My dad’s answer to this question was lesson #1.

There’s no ‘secret sauce.’ Because he’s much smarter and more philosophical than me, he quoted Henry David Thoreau:

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to go out looking for it.”

So true!

But, so contrary to the world that we seem to live in these days. In the social media age. Where we litter our social feeds and accounts with selfies. Where tooting our own horn and sharing all our accomplishments and achievements is rationalized as personal branding or “something we must do” to build our brand. Not arrogance or pride.

Crazy what happens when we simply focus on doing our jobs to the best of our ability.

2. It takes time.

It’s about discipline and a long-term partnership and commitment with a trusted adviser.” – My Dad

Lesson #2.

It takes time!

The secret sauce question comes because we all want a quick fix. We all want what we want now! Overnight successes rarely happen. We should be more consumed with the process than with the results. My dad echoed this. And from my own personal experience, everything worthwhile takes time. Everything worthwhile takes sacrifice, dedication and some good ole fashioned hard work.

We tend to over complicate things. At least I do. I love the acronym KISS: Keep It Simple Silly! It’s about the basics. The little things. Like showing up! EVERYDAY! Having a good attitude! Treating everybody with the dignity and respect they deserve. Believing! Praying like it depends on God and working like it depends on you.

Salem is evidence that consistency, belief, hard work and a focus on relationships are great ingredients for success.

What a tremendous accomplishment for a great team! WELL DONE Dad, David, Dale, Jeff, Ken, George, Ted, Joe, Lyn, Joyner, Angie, Donna, Robin, Debbie, Tammy, Jo (I hope I didn’t miss anyone)!

Be bold. Be brave. Keep the FAITH!


*Here’s the CNBC Interview with President David Rea*

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